Fall Forecast

Fall Forecast

Not to be a Negative Nelly, but do y’all remember last December? Last December we had the triple-downer of: a sharp stock market decline;a government shutdown; andgeneral political divisiveness. The net effect was one of the poorest performing fundraising Decembers of the past decade. If you’ve read the news lately, among the headlines are topics such as: stock market nervousness over the China trade-war (and September/October historically tends to be a common month for crashes);concern of a government shutdown on September 30 over the Administration’s plan to cutoff of international aid; andgeneral political divisiveness. In times of economic uncertainty, donors are hesitant to add new organizations to their giving portfolios. This could mean a rough acquisition season. However, your most loyal donors tend to step up their giving during adverse economic environments. Hopefully I’m wrong and we’ll have a stellar fall acquisition season where the money just rolls in. But on the chance that my concerns are justified, it might be good to start planning for a CYE telemarketing campaign to your best donors to fill the potential gap. I know a lot of organizations (more correctly, their BODs) hate TM. But may I suggest one piece of advice: get over it. TM works. And in economic adverse times, your organization needs to utilize all the tools available to secure the funds you need to fulfill your...
O.I. = Success

O.I. = Success

In a blog last month, I challenged you peruse the A.I. articles in your LinkedIn account, and I predicted that the articles would fall into two categories: A.I. will save us!A.I. will doom us! Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I tend to Andy Rooney like on new technologies. I think it comes with age. During my career I have heard so many promises of how technologies will make our lives better, only to experience the disappointment of experiencing no improvement. Or in some cases, the horror of a new technology leaving us worse off. But here’s the thing, A.I. will rely on your organization’s O.I. (Organic Intelligence). Without the O.I., you will not be able to leverage the A.I. And really, you don’t need to be chasing A.I. yet. There is plenty of low-hanging fruit harnessing the data you already have on your database. That is, if you get your organization’s O.I. right. Start...
Has Digital Disruption Skipped Fundraising?

Has Digital Disruption Skipped Fundraising?

The intent of today’s blog is to start a dialog. So, I hope you choose to offer your 2 cents. Over the past 20-years, the digital economy has disrupted just about each industry. Particularly in the business to consumer arenas. How we check out things we are interested in buying and how we purchase them has fundamentally changed. From buying clothes and plane tickets to watching our favorite movies – the internet is now the primary way we do these things. Yet, there are two notable exceptions: Grocery shoppingDonating money While there are digital components to each of these exceptions, they remain minor components. I have some hypotheses. But I’d really like to know what you all think. Why haven’t these two industries been disrupted? And are there any similarities about grocery shopping and donation money that might help us understand this all better. I’m all...
The Fundraising Power of Awareness

The Fundraising Power of Awareness

It may seem like a serious “duh”, but in the countless studies we have done on literally 100s of nonprofit organizations, the variable that seems to most accurately predict fundraising success is how well-known the organization is within their market. One would think that, if this is true (and it is), organizations would be spending much more money on promoting their brands through traditional media. The tricky part is that tracking ROI from general advertising is really tough. So, organizations avoid it. But check out this graph we recently created for one of our clients. It shows the impact of all giving in certain markets before and after they initiated a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) fundraising event. In this example, on average, revenue increased an average of 160% the 4-years after the P2P event compared to the 4-years prior to the P2P event. This revenue gain was across all giving channels, not just from the P2P event. I believe this supports how important awareness is to your fundraising. And this demonstrates that one way to build that awareness is putting on a P2P...
March Madness and Predicting the Future

March Madness and Predicting the Future

For all of us who are “March Madness” fans, this is a great article. https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/bracketiq/2018-04-03/ncaa-bracket-was-better-all-rest-2018 Given all the upsets in the first round of the tournament last year, some lucky ESPN entrant, “Che 3”, accurately guessed 80% of the games, including the finals matchup and the eventual winner, Villanova. That’s impressive. Until you realize that there were 17.3 million entries into the ESPN contest. And the very best one was only 80% right. Predicting the future is a tricky business. Joshua Ramos wrote a fascinating novel on the topic titled “The Age of the Unthinkable.” Basically, it’s a bunch of case studies on how bad we humans are at predicting the future. Even the super-smart humans. https://www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-First-Joshua-Cooper-Ramo/dp/1408700581/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522851729&sr=1-2&keywords=the+age+of+the+unthinkable&dpID=415KoqBr8kL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch One of the activities we do most often is to forecast how a client’s annual mail plan will perform. It’s a time-consuming process carefully discerning all the variables that impact a plan. And though our plans aren’t perfect, we are far closer than 80% accuracy– even without 17.3 million...
Fundraising Trends for 2019

Fundraising Trends for 2019

Last week, Analytical Ones completed its survey of fundraising professionals to gain insights on trends for 2019. Overall, the outlook among fundraising professionals is mixed. As many expect a good year as those who are forecasting it will not be a good year. As one respondent stated, a good year may come down to planning: “Modest growth will come to organizations with strategic fundraising programs.”   When asked about the most important trend in fundraising for 2019, it was unsurprising that the stock market’s recent downturn was top of mind. Half of the respondents identified this as the most important trend for the coming year. The two other second-tier trends mentioned in the survey were: Fundraising Channels, and the Tax Law changes. Here are two of the direct quotes from the fundraising professionals who took the survey: “A global recession could cause a significant impact on giving.” “Whether people will begin to bundle donations and not give every year, but change to another giving pattern.”   External forces lead the responses when participants were asked about their biggest concern for the coming year. In short, fundraising professionals have many concerns right now. We all know in times of uncertainty, donors tend to give less. Let’s hope our panel is wrong, but the general consensus is that it may be a bumpy...